Market steady as corporate results kick off - New York Report

GAINS from a better-than-expected start to corporate earnings season, which boosted investor confidence, were curbed by a drop in commodities yesterday.

The Dow Jones industrial average rose 13.96 points, or 0.08 per cent, to 18,100.41, the S&P 500 gained 1.64 points, or 0.08 per cent, to 2,128.28 and the Nasdaq Composite added 8.72 points, or 0.17 per cent, to 5,218.86.

Shares of technology companies were among the bright spots, helping the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite to its third straight record close as investor focus shifts to earnings from Greece and China. The top five boosts to the S&P 500 were from the tech sector.

IBM lost 3.6 per cent to $167.01 in extended trade after its quarterly results yesterday. Apple, Yahoo and Microsoft are due later this week.

So far, 70 per cent of companies have reported earnings above analyst expectations, above the 63 per cent average beat rate since 1994.

Earnings are expected to decline 2.1 per cent for the quarter, a modest improvement from the expected three per cent fall on 1 July.

However, 55 per cent have topped revenue forecasts, below the 61 per cent average beat rate since 2002.

US firms were expected to post their worst sales decline in nearly six years in the second quarter, in part due to the strong dollar that reduces the value of US companies’ overseas income.